February 12, 2012
"Quite Simply the Best Movie Serial...Period"
quote is from Todd Gault over at serialexperience dot com who probably knows more about movie serials than anyone. I agree.
May 6, 2010
The Gold Standard for Cliffhanger Serials
The film has everything a serial should: a dynamic hero, solid supporting characters, a fast-paced story, well-choreographed action scenes, and truly innovative cliffhangers at the end of each chapter.
Kane Richmond delivers two charged performances in this serial, as the superheroic never-say-die Spy Smasher and as his less super but equally heroic twin brother Jack. Serials are often derided for poor acting, but Richmond was so convincing in creating two distinct personalities that I could immediately tell which brother he was portraying just by his facial expression and body language.
To my continued annoyance, today's action movie heroes defy the limits of physiology and physics. While the CG-enhanced feats of today's action movie heroes are visually stunning, I don't actually believe what I'm seeing. In "Spy Smasher," all the action occurs at a human scale. When you see Spy Smasher jump from a cruising motorcycle, it's because stuntman Dave Sharpe jumped from a cruising motorcycle. When Spy Smasher dive-rolls from a high staircase, it's because the stuntman dive-rolled from a high staircase.
I often long for a return to these days before wires and digital manipulation, when the feats of heroes could actually be performed by human beings.